Post last updated: March 10th, 2017
My first introduction to Perennials for Every Purpose: Choose the Right Plants for Your Conditions, Your Garden, and Your Taste by Larry Hodgson (2003) was finding the 2000 edition on the shelves at the library.
The majority of Amazon reviewers give this book a five-star rating. I agree.
The book was written and edited by Rodale Press before they apparently fired all their editors. You won’t find annoying sentences that freeze your eyeballs in disbelief. One of Rodale’s 2011 offerings was so poorly edited that I gave up on it before reaching the second chapter. I wouldn’t have given it half a star. I don’t blame the writer. The job of an editor is to fine tune an author’s work to best represent both the writer and the publishing house.
With “more than 700 perennials,” Rodale Press accurately depicted Perennials for Every Purpose as encyclopedic. Each perennial has a two-page spread with a color photo of the plant and flower. Also included are growing tips, companion plants, problems/solutions, recommended varieties and a sidebar Plant Profile with vital statistics such as bloom color, bloom time, length of bloom, height, spread, methods for use (container, cut flower garden, meadow, etc.), light and soil preference, how to propagate and – DRUM ROLL – info on both the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones and the AHS (American Horticultural Society) Heat Zones. The heat zone information is particularly valuable to gardeners in the deep south. In other words, a plant may be hardy but not heat tolerant in the southern zones of Northeast Florida and even further south. The inclusion of this information is the reason I bought the book.
In Part 1, author Hodgson covers starting your garden, picking the perfect perennials, designing your dream garden, and plant care. In Part 2, he covers ever blooming, spring blooming, summer blooming, fall blooming, no care, low care, drought resistant, water-loving, shade loving, fab foliage, ground cover and pollinator perennials. Great book!